Photo: Steve Gullick

PJ Harvey drifts into inchoate memories on the supernatural “I Inside The Old I Dying”

PJ Harvey has followed up recent single “A Child’s Question, August” with the (almost) title track of her forthcoming album I Inside The Old Year Dying. On “I Inside the Old I Dying”, Harvey reveals:

“This delicate and beautiful song eluded us until the very last day in the studio. Over the previous five weeks we had tried so many times to capture it and failed, and/but then John reinvented the feel of the guitar pattern. As he was demonstrating it in the control room, Flood handed me a microphone and pressed record whilst I sat next to John trying to work out how to sing to it. The result somehow captures the ethereal and melancholic longing I was looking for.

“In the lyric everyone is waiting for the savior to reappear – everyone and everything anticipates the arrival of this figure of love and transformation.

“There is a sense of sexual longing and awakening and of moving from one realm into another – from child to adult, from life to death and the eternal.”

That guitar pattern, light as it is, dominates the instrumental of the song, with other bells and drumming skirting around the edges, subtly but superbly augmenting the atmosphere. As on the previous single, Harvey’s words dance through natural imagery of animals – “rogs and twoads in lagwood holes and hedgehogs in their leafy ditch” – but there is an overwhelming sense of human anticipation and longing. As she attends what she hopes will be His second coming, she slips into mysterious memories; “Slip from my childhood skin / I zing through the forest / I hover in the holway / and laugh into the leaves”. It leaves an inchoate but distinct impression of impermanence, which is gently rattled home in her harmonies with John Parish to close the song, repeating wistfully “the chalky children of evermore”. Whether attempting to decode a narrative or simply enjoying the myriad illusions in conjures, “I Inside The Old I Dying” pulls you in for repeated listens.

Watch the video for “I Inside The Old I Dying” below or find it on streamers.

PJ Harvey’s new album I Inside The Old Year Dying arrives on 7 July through Partisan (pre-order/save). You can find PJ Harvey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

She has also announced UK/EU dates:

22nd September – 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland
23rd September – 3Olympia Theatre, Dublin,Ireland
25th September – Barrowland, Glasgow, UK
26th September – Barrowland, Glasgow, UK
28th September – Roundhouse, London, UK
29th September – Roundhouse, London, UK
2nd October – Albert Hall, Manchester, UK
3rd October – Albert Hall, Manchester, UK
6th October – Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
7th October – Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
9th October – Cirque Royal, Brussels, Belgium
10th October – Cirque Royal, Brussels, Belgium
12th October – Olympia, Paris, France
13th October – Olympia, Paris, France
15th October – Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland
16th October – Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland
18th October – Velký sál Lucerna, Prague, Czech Republic
19th October – Velký sál Lucerna, Prague, Czech Republic
21st October – Admiralspalast, Berlin, Germany
22nd October – Admiralspalast, Berlin, Germany
24th October – Palladium, Warsaw, Poland
25th October – Palladium, Warsaw, Poland
27th October – Falkonersalen, Copenhagen, Denmark
28th October – Falkonersalen, Copenhagen, Denmark
30th October – Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway
31st October – Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway